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Are You Following a Franken-gospel?



If your faith is leading you to militancy, it is not the Spirit of Jesus. If you look at every final word Jesus shared with his disciples, none of them had to do with waging violent warfare to extend the faith. (That does not mean there cannot be a just war—[see Augustine], but that would come from your duty as a citizen, not your faith expression. And then, your goal would be to be a witness to everyone around you in how you conduct yourself.) With more and more Christian/political rallies (and more to come as we get closer to 2024), it would be a good time to read the words of Jesus regarding how we live and oppose evil. When we mix the true gospel with politics (on the left or right), we get a Franken-gospel. Just as "Rev" Al Sharpton and "Rev" Jesse Jackson used the gospel to push a leftwing political agenda, the right is capable of doing the same.


Yeshua's last words of instruction to his, soon to heralds of salvation, were about…

  • Going into all the world.

  • Making disciples.

  • Immersing these disciples.

  • But first, go to Jerusalem.

  • Wait for the Holy Spirit to empower you.


Book of Acts scholar William Larkin shares:


The fact that the Great Commission is the last instruction of the risen now ascended and imminently returning Lord gives it great weight.... The Great Commission is the primary task the Lord left his church. The church must always be a missionary church; the Christian must always be a world Christian.[1] (Emphasis added)

Imagine you lean to hear the dying words of a friend as he or she summons strength. Maybe it is a parent or a mentor. You would be shocked if their final words were not significant. Which is why we must understand that Yeshua's final instructions are valid today; they are our primary task.


Yeshua left; he didn’t overthrow

Why did Yeshua leave? Think about this: Yeshua had the power to bring a revolution but didn’t. He could have overthrown Rome but chose another path. When the disciples asked him about restoring Israel (which would have included overthrowing Rome), he told them not to worry about that but to focus on being witnesses of the gospel to the ends of the earth (Acts 1:8). That remains our task. But many have gotten sidetracked by conspiracy theories, calls for revolution, and politics. Some have even called for violence in the name of Jesus.


When Peter tried to use his sword, Yeshua rebuked him. When someone says you better fight for your country, remind them that you fight on your knees—in prayer. Your enemy is not flesh and blood, but dark principalities and powers (Eph. 6:12). When they ask if you are on the left or the right, you say, “I serve the commander of the army of the Lord” (Jos. 5). God has his own agenda, and that is to reach the world with the gospel. God never called us to save “America,” but he did call us to save “Americans” (Or at least let them know how they can be saved). We are to strive to win the souls of men, not nation-states. That being said, I do believe that America has a great calling and that God has used America to spread democracy, promote world missions and support Israel. But when people use the gospel message or the person of Jesus as a rallying cry to fight or revolt, they are misusing the gospel and creating a Franken-gospel. They are putting themselves and others in danger of judgment.


Fear the Lord before you use his Name

Just over a year ago, a “prophet” posted a veiled call to uprising and ended his rant with the words, “In Jesus’s name.” I saw it shortly after he posted it (by chance), and I cringed... He was merging his political opinions and outrage with the cause of the gospel. That night, he died. Think about that: his last public words were to use the most precious name there ever has been to promote political violence and division. Why did he die? It is not for me to say, and I will not pass judgment—but it puts the fear of the Lord in me. Some might think, “But what about this…and that…” I understand. The cultural issues our world faces are serious. I am deeply concerned about wokeism, cancel culture, trangerism and how schools are pushing this on families. And in a democracy, everyone is supposed to have a voice. We should use ours. There is a huge difference between challenging your school council and calling for Mike Pence to hang.


But let’s go back to the New Testament. Can anyone show me in the New Testament where Yeshua expects his disciples to fight for a nation-state in his name? Is there ever a call to arms or war for the cause of the gospel? The answer is “no.” At least, not that I can see.


Some are hosting “Christian” rallies to Save America, but many speakers are not even known to be believers. One speaker declared "preachers need to 'put aside the Bible and read the Constitution' during their sermons." These rallies do not express the unconditional love of God or God’s broken heart for lost Americans but stoke anger and hatred against one’s political opponents. Only Yeshua can save America, and it will not be through hate, mocking, or misusing Yeshua’s name.


[This is where I need to make it clear that I think believers should be involved in politics. What is the point of having a democracy if you are not going to let your voice be heard? I absolutely think that believers should run for office and be part of the political process. But, while we are doing that, we need to remember who we represent. We are to be salt and light and express God’s love throughout the political process. If God calls you to politics, it is to be a witness for Yeshua to those around you, as well as seek change on political/social issues.]

Don’t be a Zealot

During the time of Yeshua, there were nationalistic Jewish groups. They were absolutely convinced that God wanted them to fight against Rome so the kingdom could be restored to Israel. They were called Kania’im or Zealots. They knew they were outnumbered but believed God was on their side. Jesus, on the other hand, constantly resisted when people wanted to force his hand. He said his kingdom was not of this world—because it’s a spiritual kingdom. In John 6, they wanted to make him king (v. 15), but he would have none of it! Yes, he will one day return as a warrior king (Zech. 14:3-4), but until then, we have no New Testament commission to take up arms for ideology or religion. It has never worked in church history (study the 30 Years War, where eight million Christians were killed by other Christians, or the Crusades, which was Christian Jihad, or the Inquisition, where Jews were forced into baptism or kicked out of the country).


The ecclesia is not a nation-state or an earthly empire. It is an unseen kingdom. Less than 100 years after Rome embraced Christianity, many Christians thought the Roman Empire was the New Jerusalem. When Rome fell, so did their faith, because they wrongly believed a country or empire could be the Kingdom of God.


What happened to the Zealots?

The Zealots? They all died. They were wrong. God did not defend them, and they were not fighting his battle. When you hear people saying this politician should hang and this politician should be shot, run! That is Zealot-ism and not of the Spirit.

In the US, we have had Republican and Democratic administrations, and we have survived as a democracy. Personally, as a republican, I want a republican president. But the greatest revival in American history, the Brownsville Revival, actually took place while Bill Clinton was president. Please understand my point, the revival did not take place because Bill Clinton was president, but his presidency did not stop millions of people pouring into a church in Pensacola Florida over a five-year period. No political power can stop the Spirit of God.


But once we embrace the idea of violence to impose an agenda, we are in danger of losing the democracy. The good news is that the gospel can survive, and even thrive, in both a democracy and a dictatorship. Communism tried to kill it in the Former Soviet Union, but the moment the Iron Curtain fell, revival broke out all over Russia, Ukraine, and other states. The gospel prospers in China and India despite persecution. It was Tertullian who wrote, during a time when Rome was trying to stamp out Christianity by killing believers, that the blood of the martyrs is the seed of the church. I don’t know what the next election cycle is going to bring, but it would not be shocking if some try to use the message of Jesus to promote a civil conflict (Some already are!). We must be on our guard. We are not zealots. We are Spirit-filled witnesses to the unseen kingdom of God and the resurrection of Yeshua. Feel free to respond, but make an argument from Scripture. Bless you!


Footnote: these are the hardest blogs to write, because people tend to read fast and take words out of context. That is why there are many disclaimers and clarifications. This is a very sensitive, but extremely important, issue for our day. We should be in prayer together.


[1] William J. Larkin Jr., Acts, vol. 5, The IVP New Testament Commentary Series (Westmont, IL: IVP Academic, 1995), Ac 1:6–11.

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